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  1. 3 points
    Trip: Bear Mountain - North Buttress: Beckey Route Trip Date: 07/15/2018 Trip Report: Bear Mountain: Two new dads trying to keep a 10 year dream alive For me, mountains can become obsessions, sometimes to the point of irrationality. In my life, no mountain, or route has been more indicative of this than the North Buttress of Bear. I stumbled upon Bear in 2007 in my early days of climbing WA by devouring each page of the Beckey guides like they were some gripping novel. Trip reports from this site only further set the dream of someday ascending this monster objective. Being nothing but a budding sport climber at the time, this peak seemed out of my grasp. As the years went on, I honed my mountain skills. I learned to trad lead, sent my first few alpine rock routes, got on my first glaciers, and began developing the mind for the rigors of schwacking in the cascades. By 2011, I began thinking this dream could possibly become a reality for me. I even found a climbing partner, Andrew, who shared my dream. Each year we'd talk about making our dream a reality but each Summer would come and go without an attempt. For 5 years in a row we'd try to make plans only to see them fall through. Timing, schedules, obligations, weather, forest fires, and work all conspired against us. Fast forward to 2016, and each of us became fathers of our first children. Yet another reason to push Bear farther from our grasps. During the first year of fatherhood I discovered, although not surprised, that being a father does not easily co-exist with committing alpine objectives. My fit physique, lead head, and drive for summits began to recede like the glaciers surrounding the peaks I had grown to love so much. Over trail runs, occasional crag days, and family outings, Andrew and I still spoke of our mutual dream contrasted with our diminished abilities. One thing was clear from these conversations: the dream, and our stoke was still alive for our beloved Bear. Spring of 2018 came around. It had been a dismal Winter of training. Trips to the crags confirmed, family obligations and our lack of training over the Fall and Winter had left both of us less than prepared to crush in the coming Summer, but we began to discuss plans for Bear as we did every year. We settled on the dates of July 13-15 and began attempting to play catch up with our training. As the dates drew closer, one thing became certain, neither of us felt strong. But the week of July 4th came and still nothing looked to foil our set plans. So early July 13th we made the early morning drive to the end of the Chilliwack road along Chilliwack Lake in British Columbia. The bushwhack across the border and out to bear camp lived up to its dreaded hype. Six hours of magical, rarely touched old-growth forest contrasted with the torturous efforts required to navigate and move through said forest left us bewildered and uncertain. This uncertainty as well as the contrast of beauty and torture would be a reoccurring theme over these 3 days. From bear camp to the bivy on the western shoulder of bear is 4000 vertical feet up. A quarter of the way up, late afternoon, and we were beat. I am on liter 5 of water, schwacking in my underwear due to the heat and effort. Both of us are bonking and cursing ourselves for thinking we could pull this objective off. We were not fit. We had not trained enough. Doubt began to dominate our thoughts. It has already been 8 hours of this shit and we still had 3,000 feet of trail-less hell ahead of us. Who were we kidding? There was no way we were going to make it to camp before dark. We sat, uncomfortably, on a steep slope, in the middle of nowhere and began talking of retreat. "Squamish isn't too far away, is it?" "I guess we could always just crag at Mt. Erie on our way back to Seattle." Inside, a voice screams at my exhausted brain, "MT. ERIE!!!!???? Are you fucking serious!!?? I am never coming back into this valley again. It is now or never for Bear. The dream either lives or dies on this shitty, viewless, insignificant slope." My senses kicked back in. Remember, anything too big to fathom all at once needs to be broken into digestible chunks. The decision to push on grew from this and we decided to at least try to make it to the lake for the night and we would make the next decision from there. Two hours later, after 1,000 feet of extremely steep blueberry bush pulling, we broke out into the alpine and our spirits began to soar like a vulture in a thermal updraft. It’s amazing how something as simple as alpine views can change the mindset and determination of a climber. I began to feel rejuvenated. Maybe we could make the bivy site before dark. A heather-strewn meadow on a gentle shoulder gave us the first real physical break of the day. Panoramic views of remote North Cascade summits rose all around us. A mother Ptarmigan and her brood of chicks sprinted out of the bushes, snapping me from my alpine daze. Discussions of a potential closer bivy site gave us a closer goal. Running on fumes, past the lower bivy spot, and we still have light. Must, keep, moving. At last, 12 hours after leaving our car, we collapsed at the col. We had made it. I promptly gave the double middle finger to the valley below, clearly showing the shit-show we just wallowed through. We promised ourselves we would not make a decision about what to do about the next day until after we ate. Dinner went quick. As we crawled into our bags, we listened to the cacophony of a thousand tiny flying vampires trying desperately to find a way through our netting and into our skin. Twilight lit the sky with a rainbow of color. We both agreed that since we had overcome the uncertainty and brutality of what many, including us, consider the hardest approach in the Cascades, we felt obligated to throw ourselves at the North face the next morning even as our bodies screamed in opposition. We awoke with the sunrise. I shook the heaviness of last nights sleep from my head and felt somewhat shocked that yesterday wasn't some dream/nightmare. I was here. We were about to start our summit day. A day we have both been dreaming of for at least 10 years. With each sip of coffee, my stoke began to rise. We strapped on our crampons and make a quick and pleasant descent onto the north side of the mountain. We turned a corner to catch our first glimpse of Bear's north buttress. Ominous, glorious, stunning, perfection on ice. Words cannot really describe the feelings I had, but these are close. Upon seeing both the direct north buttress and the north buttress couloir, we checked in. The direct looked safer as the couloir looked broken up near the top, but our energy levels and dismal cumulative rock pitches for the year had us thinking that the extra rock pitches might not be reasonable. We settled on following the couloir and Beckey's footsteps. In hindsight, this might this might have been a bad idea, but I am pretty sure I would have said the same thing if we had taken the other option. Either way we felt the collective weight of our dreams, the debilitating approach that we vowed never to do again, and the sheer power of what we were trying to accomplish. I felt as if every step upwards tightened the grip of the vice we were in. Committed, for better or worse, to move upwards. We switched back and forth from approach shoes to crampons a few times and quickly found ourselves in irreversible territory. There is terror and clarity in realizing the only way out of a predicament is forward. We broke out the rope to lead our first pitch out of the couloir. A shit show of snow, poor pro behind detached blocks, and slopey ledges littered with rocks of all shapes and sizes. My rope skirted across a ledge and sent a microwave down towards Andrew. Our years of work together in the mountains gave us the foresight to expect such events and was glad Andrew had set himself out of harm’s way before I led. We had reached the 4th class ledge system that would get us up to the North buttress proper. Kitty litter, slopey ledges, and the exposure below made for careful, calculated movements while simuling, often without adequate gear between us. Trust in each other became paramount and again I found myself thinking that I was thankful to be climbing with such a trusted partner. At last, we reached the first real quality pitch of the route. Beckey's glorious left facing 5.8 corner. Andrew led and we both laughed at the idea of "5.8" at the top. It felt like index 5.9+ but would be an instant classic if situated at the lower town wall. We were finally finding some type 1 fun. I linked the next two pitches of fun and deposited us at the base of the infamous 10a offwidth. DE8DD876-06ED-4585-BEE2-4CF80B5ED29B.MOV It was at this point that we began to feel the efforts of the pat 36 hours. Dehydrated, low on energy, and stoke, Andrew reluctantly agreed to lead the next pitch and quickly made the decision to take the 5.8 bypass pitch. We ended up breaking this pitch into two because the lower portion of the offwidth took most of our small cams and the upper 5.8 portion looked to take nothing bigger than a .75 BD. Crap. We swapped leads under the only stance Andrew could find conveniently under a car sized detached block. I was tasked with leading over it and him without touching it. Yikes. I led to a nice ledge and brought up my partner. Both of us feeling both physically, mentally, and emotionally drained, we began to flounder. Neither felt the desire to lead the next pitch. Bonking hard, I finally took the sharp end. Staying on the crest I mantled to the base of a steep featured, but unprotect-able face. I began to lose my cool. 15 feet above a ledge and my last piece and seeing committing climbing and no cracks above me, I retreated. Reversing the mantle had me nearly hyperventilating but I, somehow, safely made my way back to the anchor. We discussed our predicament, spied a horn with rap slings 30 feet down to our right and consulted our beta. We both thought that this was the Beckey rappel that would take us to a 4th class gully exit but our position would not allow us to confirm it. Below us, the gullies looked vertical, smooth, and crack-free. Committing to the rappel felt serious. Andrew rappelled at a diagonal across ribs, at times placing gear as directionals to reach the farthest gully. Upon reaching the first gully, Andrew looked up. There is no way that is 4th class. Second gully. Sweet baby jesus! It goes! Relief washed over us like a warm caribbean breeze. I rappelled down and we quickly began to lead. We both just wanted to be done with this endeavor. How quickly a dream becomes dread. My mind screamed, "Get me the fuck off this mountain!" After two rope stretching pitches and some mid fifth climbing (another sandbag) the Sun hit our darkened spirits and the tomb I'd climbed myself out of was no more. A few hundred feet of 3rd class was all that separated us from the summit. Elated, exhausted, and emotional, we hugged. I looked over the edge, down the north face and wept. Tears of joy, relief, and sadness fell hundreds of feet down the alpine face of my dreams. I always pictured myself feeling triumphant at this moment, but instead all I felt was relief and the intense desire to hug my wife and two year old son. We had done it. We had fought through constant moments of fear and uncertainty to obtain our dreams, but I felt far from dreamy. As we began the descent, I turned around and gave one last look at the summit of my dreams and gave it the double middle finger. I was done. I could close this chapter of my climbing pursuits. Fatherhood has changed my drive, my dreams, and my abilities. I am unsure if I will ever climb anything like this again, but much like any overwhelming obstacle, I will take it one decision at a time. Who knows how I will feel about such commitment and risk taking in the future. We hit a mellow snow slope and just like any decision we made that day, we assessed the terrain and made the best choice for moving forward. The joy in the glissade took me by surprise and I burst out into a giggle fit. Type 1 fun!!!! What a wild ride of emotions. We reached our bivy a half an hour before sunset. We smiled and laughed as we recapped the day. Feeling thankful and shocked to have pulled the ascent off, we crawled into our bags, passed a joint back and forth and fell into philosophical ramblings about life and reality. What a life we live. The next morning we made the long march back down to bear camp and through what felt like endless old growth shenanigans pushed by the thought of a dip in Chilliwack lake and the beer stashed there. Upon reaching the lake we found the beer gone, hoards of people on what I thought would be a secluded beach, and leash-less dogs aggressively charging us while the owner continued to flirt with some bikini-clad girl. WTF. I thought that was the shit-cream on top of a long and miserable day, but oh no. Upon reaching the trailhead I saw my car in the distance but somehow it did not look like my car. The back window was missing! Someone had broken into my car! Son-of-a-bitch! As we got closer, the horrific reality set in. My car had not only been broken into, it had been set on fire. The tires, the windows, the interior. Everything that could have burned did. My car was a hunk of metal and nothing more! I was in disbelief. How was this possible!?? How are we going to get out of here? Is this a nightmare? Am I still in the mountain sleeping in my bag and this is some horrid hallucination fueled by the joint and exhaustion? Nope. This was reality. Whoever did this also nearly set the entire forest on fire based on the completely burnt cedar behind my car. Jesus Fucking Christ! We could have been trapped in that valley if they had succeeded in doing so! As my mind swirled with the gravity of our situation, the last car in the parking lot approached us and gave us a ride into town dropping us off at the Chilliwack police. After reporting what had happened, expecting surprise, they just smiled and said, "Yep, this has been happened a lot this Summer and there was little they could do about it. They gave us our police report number and directed us to a local bar and motel. I called the border to confirm they would let me back into the states without my passport (burnt in the car) and made arrangements for a friend to come pick us up. ”the urban mountaineer” This trip will live in my mind till the day I die and will hopefully entertain many. Journeys like this are great reminders for what is important in your life and just how lucky I am to be apart of this amazing planet. Get after what fuels your soul people! Gear Notes: 60 m rope Double rack tops to fist. Single 4 and a set of stoppers. Lots of alpine slings Approach Notes: Follow the tape till you can’t then turn on your zen and be one with the forest.
  2. 2 points
    Trip: Northern Chiwaukum Range - Chiwaukum Brush Battle Trip Date: 09/23/2018 Trip Report: After plans changed last minute, I had to search for a solo trip idea for Sunday. I really didn't feel like driving super far but weather looked suspect on the west side of the Cascades once again, so I figured the Chiwaukum Mountains would be a good compromise. I scratched together a rough idea: park at White Pine TH, take the direct route up the ridge south to North Chiwaukum, descend to Larch Lakes trail, from Cup Lake ascend to the summit of Big Chiwaukum, descend by the Grace Lakes and down the Wildhorse trail back to the car. It would include peaks, scrambling, pristine lakes, and lots of fall colors! Well, it had most of that, and some more I didn't ask for... I had only heard of the direct route up to North Chiwaukum in the winter, but I can verify it works when in not snow cover too, as long as you have a tolerance for thousands of feet of steep (and in my case, terribly wet and slippery) brush. All the downed leaves and branches were slick from a storm the night before and I sometimes had trouble gripping. Poles were helpful. The first bit was the worse. There was a brief moment when I began to reconsider my decision in a thicket of Devil's club and downed trees. I then realized I had to embrace the futility of all my actions to find peace with my struggles. The zen of bushwhack. Around 4200 ft the ridge got less steep and a faint climber's trail appeared at times. It kept getting better and eventually, close to 6000 ft, I got my first views of the valley nearby. At this point, I was thoroughly soaked and a cold wind was blowing over the ridge. Pretty soon the trees were covered in rime ice. It was cold. The cold had advanced the stages of the larches to a nice yellow behind the icy covering. When I got to the ridge at 7000 ft, it was full on gnar. No trees for protection, just barren icy tundra. I tagged the summit of North Chiwaukum 3 hours in. The (imaginary) views were exceptional. As I contoured toward the saddle to the SE, I dropped beneath the clouds briefly and was treated to a beautiful little basin with sparkling ice covered larches! There indeed was hope. Stepping over that saddle in the raging wind, I was treated to an incredible spectacle: raging clouds spilling over the Chiwaukum Crest, Larch Lake surrounded by yearning larches who in short time will earn the status of golden, and carpets of red, yellow, and orange sprawling across a deep valley. It made me want to cry. All was good. I descended through a short scrambly section and then started to weave my way down the path of the least resistance. This quickly became the path of greater resistance, as I got sucked into some nasty alder and had to burrow through a creekbed for a good 15 minutes to get out. When I finally reached the bottom of the valley, and looked back, I saw that there was an easier path climber's right. I went down more with the streams in the middle. Finally on a trail, I had a nice stroll to Larch Lake and was even able to jog a little. The larches were just getting going and in another week they'll be in their prime. I filtered some water and appreciated the lake. It was Enchanment like! Great granite walls and larches studded all the way up the mountainsides. I then proceeded a few hundred feet up to Cup Lake. Here, I met one family, the only party I would see all day expect for close to the White Pine TH. We were once again socked in the clouds and it even hailed a little. I explained to them my plan and that I at least had to get over the crest somehow to get back. I think they took pity on seeing a skinny boy with such a tiny little vest pack in such poor conditions. I had counted on "Partly Sunny" by the afternoon as NWS promised, but it seemed things were going the other direction. I was doing fine on time, just over 5 hours in, but with the poor visibility and a dying GPS, I wasn't sure about continuing to Big Chiwaukum. I knew that once I entered the clouds I wouldn't be able to see more than a hundred feet and there was a lot of tedious terrain in front of me, so I made the decision to pass on it and instead go back over Deadhorse Pass. I didn't know anything about the route over Deadhorse Pass, but if a horse made it up (and then died) as the name suggested, it couldn't be that bad right? Still, the pass looked suspiciously steep on a map and I got glimpses of cliffs through the clouds. I got a compass bearing and started up towards the pass in minimal visibility, but cliffs kept pushing me right. I was getting a little concerned, but then out of the darkness on the left emerged a cut through the cliffs: a passageway! This gully looked loose, but would hopefully go. It was pretty easy down low, but got pretty loose and insecure up top. The fresh rain had really stirred the soil up. Still, it wasn't as bad as the Mountaineer's Route on Whitney (sorry, California, your "classic" route might be the worst scramble I've ever done) after two weeks of continuous afternoon thunderstorms. I topped out and was greeted with a blast of cold wind. If coming from the other side, there were a few other similar looking gullies, not sure which one is the right one but they all look kinda spooky from the top: I headed down from the pass pretty quickly. It was pretty eerie. It got super still as I walked through this spooky basin. Watch out for the shadow-creatures appearing out of the mist. Or the wet bushes trying to soak you. Let's be honest, hypothermia is the real threat in the Cascades. After this flat basin, I was greeted with a bunch of steep cliffs and unattractive gullies. I inspected four or five of them like an unimpressed suitor before settling on the one that seemed "least ugly". It was class 2, but weird loose, slippery class 2 that had me maybe more uncomfortable than I was when I free soloed the West Ridge of Stuart. I don't know, maybe I'm just getting old. Finally being of legal drinking age will do that I guess. From here, the fun wasn't over. As I got lower, the brush got thicker and thicker once again. And this time, I really got soaked. Not like, mama I peed my pants damp. Like, Mommy I fell in the toilet wet. My pants actually clung to my skin, they were completely soaked. I was getting pretty tired of this brush, but I guess it was my own doing. One thing about solo trips is you have no one else really to blame for your follies. It's nice to be self-reliant but it's also nice to have a scapegoat (and partner for support and safety, of course). I generally trended skier's right and felt like it sorta worked. After about an hour, I finally found a climber's trail. My speed greatly increased and then at about 4900 ft, I hit the Wildhorse trail, elated to out of the brush. From here, I was able to cruise down the trail back to the car, for a round trip time of just under 9 hours. Total, it was about 15 miles and 7k gain with nearly all the gain off trail. In good weather, the views would be great. I think it's a cool route because of the lack of established climber trails or cairns, but it's not for everyone. I'd love to see someone complete it or even throw in some other Chiwaukum peaks. The falls colors are second to none. The Chiwaukum are massive, lonely peaks. They hold a very special place in my heart. Here's a map showing my track in red. Blue shows the extension I wanted to do. Gear Notes: UD running vest, Z poles, some clothing that would become wet, LS ultraraptors (tripled in weight because of water) Approach Notes: Go straight up. Basically due south from the parking lot.
  3. 2 points
    Trip: Inspiration Peak - South Face Trip Date: 09/02/2018 Trip Report: Before last weekend I hadn't been to Terror Basin in almost 10 years. Back then we had spent a week in the Southern Pickets, only seeing one other party in Terror Basin. How times have changed! This past weekend there were three other parties for a total of a dozen people in Terror Basin. Thankfully all the others were headed for West McMillan Spire so we had the decidedly unpopular South Face of Inspiration all to ourselves. However, like Alan Kearney, I really think it should be more popular. It is quite a route! But it is also not for the faint of heart. Steep, intimidating, with a bit of scruffy rock and so-so pro - it would have been a challenge back when I was in good rock climbing shape. And I am most certainly not in good rock shape these days! Luckily I had @therunningdog to gun my sorry ass up it. And gun he did, leading all the gash pitches. But there was plenty to keep my mind humming below- a chaotic glacier with some delicate bridges, slabby rock right off the glacier (should have put on rock shoes earlier), and an increasingly exposed 4th/low 5th class ramp that terminated in the intimidatingly steep "Great Gash". And thenn once you are on the summit, the involved descent awaits. 4-5 raps down the West Ridge, some ridiculously exposed scrambling, and then more steep rappels down the south face. It was about 12 hours camp to camp. But what a place. Even more beautiful than I remembered, perhaps due to the changing weather and swirling mists? The best pictures are never during the best weather, perhaps the same is true of our memories? I'll be back, but I won't wait another 10 years this time. Looking down into Terror Basin from the "trail" in: Looking out to Triumph, Despair, and the Chopping Block (L-R): Despair and the Chopping Block: Thornton Peak and Triumph at sunrise: The Southern Pickets!! Morning light on the South Face of Inspiration: Ptarmigan and grown chick: I should draw the line on this but basically you climb up the buttress to the left of the face to the prominent ramp that is followed right a long ways to the start of the "Great Gash", which shoots steeply up and left to the upper West Ridge. A pitch on the ridge finishes the climb. The Descent follows the left skyline to the col then down the steep face/buttress to the glacier: The glacier approach proved challenging, but we found a way that will go into the fall this year: No super dad friendly. Scrambling a lot of 4th and low 5th to the belayed pitches up the gash. I should have taken more photos but I was pretty focused on not screwing up! @therunningdog in his element! Did I mention that the South Face of Inspiration is steep? @therunningdog coming up the final bit to the summit: It is an exposed descent as well. Rapping the West ridge: On the first set of raps, before you drop off the South Face: Whew. Down on the ice! Or should I say gneiss? TEEBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONE! Despair in the mists: Triumph: Despair: This felt good after the punishing descent: Gear Notes: 60m half rope, medium rack to 2", ice axe, crampons, helmet Approach Notes: Terror Basin trail from Goodell Creek. 6 hours to camp. From camp follow the climber's path toward Inspiration and West Mac, picking the best line up the glacier to the toe of the buttress just west of the South Face. We roped up here for a bit until we gained the prominent ramp where we packed the roped and scrambled. It seemed about 5.6-5.7 for one ptich to gain the ramp, with low fifth below that. The "Great Gash" is about 3, 30m pitches, to ~5.8. I think we did about 12 rappels down the west ridge and west edge of south face right back to our boots. Stations are established for a single 60m rope. Bring tat since the route isn't climbed regularly.
  4. 2 points
    Trip: North Cascades - Southern Pickets - Southern Pickets Enchainment (Traverse) – Second Ascent Trip Date: 08/17/2018 Trip Report: Climbers/Scribe/Photos: Jeff and Priti Wright Priti and I completed the Second Ascent of the full Southern Pickets Enchainment (Traverse) between 8/12/2018 and 8/17/2018 via the first ascensionists’ agenda (VI 5.10+, ca. 3 miles). Thirteen peaks in four days staying on technical terrain enchaining every peak in the Southern Picket Range from East to West. The Chopping Block was our 14thpeak on the last day à la Bunker-Haley-Wallace. We were lucky to have splitter weather the whole time except for our approach day which was non-stop drizzling and kept us from jumping on the rock right away. We had previously attempted this climb during the July 4thweek earlier this summer but were stormed off at the base of Mount Terror. View of the entire Southern Pickets from Mount Triumph. Photo Credit: James Blackmon (1) Little Mac Spire, (2) East McMillan Spire, (3) West McMillan Spire, (4) Tower 1 summit of the East Towers aka "Don Tower", (5) Tower 5 summit of East Towers, (6) Inspiration Peak, (7) Pyramid Peak, (8) Mount Degenhardt, (9) Mount Terror, (10) The Rake aka "The Blob", (11) The Blip, (12) East Twin Needle, (13) West Twin Needle, (14) Dusseldorfspitz, (15) Himmelhorn, (16) Ottohorn, (17) Frenzelspitz, and (18) The Chopping Block The Chopping Block is on the left. History: FA: In 2003, this visionary line of 13 summits (Little Mac Spire to Frenzelspitz) was first completed by Mark Bunker, Colin Haley, and Wayne Wallace in an incredibly speedy 4 days car-to-car. http://c498469.r69.cf2.rackcdn.com/2004/34_wallace_pickets_aaj2004.pdf https://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/topic/15094-walking-the-fence/ 2011: Dan Hilden, Jens Holsten, and Sol Wertkin completed 12 of the Southern Pickets summits (Little Mac Spire to Ottohorn), but were halted by an impassable moat under the South Face of the final bookend peak, Frenzelspitz (a lesson we borrowed to not take the snow approach). https://www.outdoorresearch.com/blog/article/chad-kellogg-jens-holsten-tackle-complete-picket-range-enchainment http://www.alpinist.com/doc/web15s/wfeature-never-ending-holsten-kellogg https://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/topic/82900-tr-picket-range-complete-enchainment-attempt-922011/?tab=comments#comment-1029444 2013: Jens Holsten and Chad Kellogg traversed 11 of the Southern Pickets summits (Little Mac Spire to Himmelhorn), and carried on to the Northern Pickets to do a mind-blowing Southern and Northern Pickets traverse. Even though Jens humbly calls their climb an “attempt” since they left out three minor summits, their ascent was easily one of the greatest alpine achievements in the lower 48. https://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/topic/92032-they-made-it/?tab=comments#comment-1101276 http://jensholsten.blogspot.com/2013/07/desperate-country-seven-day-enchainment.html https://www.outdoorresearch.com/blog/article/chad-kellogg-jens-holsten-tackle-complete-picket-range-enchainment Legend In the topos below, note the following color codes -Blue circle: belays that we chose to take (all are optional, obviously) -Yellow arrows: Bail options, or ways to enter/exit shorter segments of the Enchainment -Green tent: bivy sites (note the comments) -Red lines: Ascent -White circles: Rappels -White lines: Descent Day 1 With our packs each weighing in at 28lbs, we hiked in to Terror Creek Basin via Goodell Creek through wet bushes and a light drizzle and bivied at the Terror Creek Basin High Camp. Day 2 As we roped up at the base of the start (Little Mac Spire) on Day 2, Priti glumly pulled two left-footed red Moccasym rock shoes out of her pack, but decided to keep going like the hardcore badass that she is! We climbed from Little Mac Spire (5.8) through East McMillan Spire (5.6), West McMillan Spire (5.8), the East Towers (5.8) summiting Don Tower and Tower 5, and finishing the day with Inspiration Peak (5.9). We had to climb up 1/3 of Pyramid to find a small snow patch for water and dinner. On our last trip in early July there was a lot of snow at the cols, so it was easy to find water. There was a lot less snow in the cols in August, making finding water along the traverse very tricky, to say the least. We filled our dromedary up every time we found snow. The smoke made the views hazy, but we could tell how far away the later peaks were, and how far we had to go. The base of Little Mac Spire The start of the technical climbing (5.7) on the face of Little Mac Spire The upper ridge of East McMillan Spire View looking West in July View looking West in August Upper face of West McMillan Spire Starting up Tower 1 Priti is belaying below Pitch 2 (5.8 with a hand/fist overhang) Inspiration Peak Summit is the impressive overhang on the left Day 3 On Tuesday (day 2 of climbing, day 3 of the trip), we started out on Pyramid (5.8), and traversed over Degenhardt (3rd class). We chose a steep face crack for the first pitch on Terror to start. This may be the 5.8 start Jens and Chad did. Starting further out left might go at 5.6. After finding the piton rappel off Terror, we downclimbed about half of the Rake-Terror col before starting up a loose gulley on The Rake (skier’s right). The climbing didn’t feel too hard, and we must have avoided the 5.9 R climbing described by previous parties. However we didn’t make it to the nice bivy at the summit, instead hunkering down on a slopey grassy ledge for the night. Snafflehounds poked me in the face and jumped on my feet to start the night out. The meteor shower sparkled above us. In the morning, Jeff found his helmet strap had been gnawed through, his crack gloves stolen and the nut butter munched. Nothing a little duct tape won’t fix! Starting up the technical climbing on Pyramid Peak Inside the crux chimney Day 4 On Wednesday (day 3 of climbing, day 4 of the trip), we only climbed for a few hours doing lots of fun ridge climbing on the Rake (5.8) which took us to the best bivy spot of the trip: on top of the West Rake Summit. It was so nice, we decided to relax the rest of the day and camel up for the next day. The choosy 4th class gully which exits the Terror-Rake col (about halfway down) on climber's right The entire Rake ridgeline is pictured here. Priti is on the initial ridgeline, heading to the Rake's deep, major notch (right of center). Stay high on this initial ridge to get to a 5.6 traverse about even with the notch to get over to the notch. Starting the traverse too soon may result in 5.9R climbing. The vertical ridgeline just left of the major notch is the technical crux. The technical crux of The Rake. This is the second pitch after getting to the major notch which takes you to the The Rake's ridge proper. 5.8+ ledges with small gear. Starting out on the Rake's ridge proper. Looking back at the Rake (Eastward) from the summit Guns out! Amazing bivy site! Don't stop at the col (aka "Ice Station Dark Star"), but continue to this bivy after a short pitch. Day 5 Thursday morning we woke up stoked for the Twin Needles and Himmelgeisterhorn. The Blip between the Rake and the Needles was a quick jaunt (5.6). In the descent gulley, Priti kicked a small rock down, which tipped a precarious car-door sized boulder over and core-shot our rope. She literally had two left feet! We just climbed the rest of the way with 40m of rope out. East Twin Needle (5.10a) had some of the best climbing on the trip, following an aesthetic line up the knife edge ridge, that looks like a gothic tower. There was a TCU that the previous party stuck behind a flake, and was reminded of the giant footsteps we were following. The last couple moves were extremely dirty though. The left variation of the crux is much easier than sticking right. West Twin Needle was chill 3rd Class. Then came Himmelgeisterhorn (5.10), the “Horn of the Sky Spirit”. The climbing was fantastic: engaging, with great position, and unique au chevaling! We climbed over Düsseldorfspitz, on the way to the summit of Himmelhorn. We rappelled down the North Face of Himmelhorn with our 60m rope which worked out perfectly. Ottohorn took about an hour to summit and get back down to the Himmel-Otto col. The 3rdclass route that Bunker-Haley-Wallace took is gone due to some fresh rock fall. Instead of taking the 2 pitch 5.7 variation that Hilden-Holsten-Wertkin took, we attacked the fresh rock scar directly which was splitter 5.6 hand cracks for maybe 15 m to the ridge and summit. In the fading light, we then headed over to Frenzelspitz (the final peak of the Enchainment) from the Himmel-Otto col, traversing along rock on the north side of Ottohorn. The ledge/gulley traverse had the most heinous, scary, exposed choss. Luckily the climbing on Frenzel was pretty great 5.7ish. We made four fresh rappel anchors, starting with a runner on the summit block, two double-nut anchors, and another slung horn. 5.8 ridge (vertical blocks) The fantastic climbing on the technical crux of East Twin Needle. Priti leading out onto the technical crux (and I mean technical!) - face climbing on crimps with small gear Looking up and over Dusseldorfspitz. Priti is belaying between Dusseldorfspitz (foreground) and Himmelhorn (background). The crazy outcropping (Dusseldorfspitz) just East of the summit of Himmelhorn Looking back down from the Himmelhorn summit at the belay. Left to right: Dusseldorfspitz (the small spire along the ridgeline, just below the summit), Himmelgeisterhorn ("Horn of the Sky Spirit", also a small suberb of the German city of Dusseldorf), Ottohorn, and Frenzelspitz...three names taken from the label of a mustard bottle brought along by Joan and Joe Firey (kindred spirits and personal heroes of ours) during their first ascent of these peaks in 1961. Ed Cooper, also on the trip, was "aghast" at the names chosen! The magnificent Northern Pickets Frenzelspitz, a perfect pyramid Day 6 The last day we climbed the Chopping Block via the NW Route (4thClass) and hiked out via “Stump Hollow” to Terror Creek. Mega thanks to Wayne, @solwertkin, and @jensholsten for their great beta, inspiration, and support. Priti and I have been dreaming of this climb for years now since reading Alpinist 47 magazine’s expansive article on the Picket Range and being inspired by Jens Holsten and Chad Kellogg’s 2013 Pickets Traverse (of both the Southern and Northern Pickets, 10 miles) after we had just taken the @boealps Basic Climbing Class. The next level of alpinism in the Southern Pickets may be to complete the entire enchainment in a day! This seems like an entirely reasonable feat (especially for a soloist) given enough familiarity and speed. Bivy Beta: Primo bivies (East to West) base of West McMillan Spire descent (snow through the summer, nice bivy walls) base of Mount Terror, cross over ridge to North side - late season snow available on top of the Rake sub-peak (1 pitch past the “Ice Station Dark Star”) – lots of snow just a short scramble distance away along the Rake descent. Himmel-Otto col (if no snow on the col, make one rappel toward Crescent basin to find snow) Terrible bivies (East to West) base of East McMillan Spire descent (sloping ledges, snow early season) slabby ledge about 1/4 the way up the Inspiration West Ridge (exposed) Pyramid-Inspiration col (no snow late season) grassy ledges down and climbers left when you first gain the ridge proper at the start of the Rake “Ice Station Dark Star” (as coined by Hilden-Holsten-Wertkin) which is the col after just rappelling from The Rake summit (snow early season, but rappel north late season to find snow down a heinous choss gully)…if no snow just at the col, then recommend continuing on to the Rake descent to find tons of easily accessible snow in late season Himmelhorn summit (no snow) Gear Notes: small set of nuts and some brassies doubles BD UL Camalots .4-2 single BD UL Camalot 3 (for Inspiration East Face) singles BD C3 000-1 (extra green 0) single BD Camalot X4 Offset 0.1/0.2 single BD Camalot X4 0.3 singles Metolius Mastercam 0-3 4 double-length runners with 2 Camp 22 biners each 3 double-length runners with 1 Camp 22 biner each 9 single-length runners with 1 Camp 22 biner each (can’t have too many runners) 30L Patagonia Ascensionist pack (for him) and 30L Black Diamond Speed pack (for her) Patagonia Micro Puff jacket (each) Patagonia Alpine Houdini jacket (each) Patgaonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid Jacket (for him) 2L MSR DromLite (essential!) Garmin inReach Mini (love this little guy!) Beal Escaper (for emergency bails) Petzl Leopard FL crampons (each) Petzl Sirocco helmets Petzl Sitta harness (for him) and Arc’teryx harness (for her) Metolius Feather Nut Tool (each) Camp Corsa Nanotech 50cm (each) chalk bag, each (didn’t use) tape gloves (for her) and OR Splitter gloves (for him) x2: Mammut Smart belay device (not the Alpine Smart) + Grivel Sigma Wire D carabiner 3 lockers for group: Grivel Tau K12L, Grivel Lambda HMS, Grivel Plume 60m 8.5mm Beal Opera rope 15m 5mm cord (did not use ever) 1 medium fuel canister 1 small fuel canister (did not use) Jetboil Sol stove Safety ‘biner (each) – Edelrid 19g caribeener, Petzl Micro Traxion, short Sterling Hollowblock, Trango Piranha knife Bivy setup (each) – Short Thermarest NeoAir XLite sleeping pad, Exped Air Pillow UL, Feathered Friends Vireo UL sleeping bag 8.5ft^2 tarp by Hyperlite Mountain Gear TC Pros (for him) and Moccassyms (for her) La Sportiva TX2 (for her) and TX4 (for him) approach shoes Petzl Reactik headlamps (each) + 3 extra AAA batteries + Petzl e+LITE headlamp Other things: 1 long spoon to share, chapstick to share, small Joshua Tree sun stick to share, Kenu iPhone tether, lighter, whistle, duct tape, Thermarest repair patches, Voke tabs, Nuun, pain killers, 1L Platypus soft water bottle (for her) and 750mL HydraPak Stash (for him), warm headband, glove liners, 1 pair thick long socks (each), sunglasses, ear plugs, WRFA emergency form, small pencil Dinner: 2 AlpineAire meals, 3 Near East Couscous boxes repackaged with small olive oil packets in ziplock bags, salt Day food was mostly bulky, yummy snacks: vegan jerky, dried mango, nuts, Cheese-Its, sesame sticks, Gu, nut butter, etc Approach Notes: Excellent Approach trail Goodell Creek to Terror Basin. The descent from Crescent Basin is tricky The luxurious tree marker where one descends from the ridge below "Stump Hollow" towards Terror Creek Log crossing Terror Creek on descent
  5. 2 points
    Very grateful for all the time you put into this trip report and thank you to @wayne @Colin @JensHolsten @Dannible @Sol for laying the groundwork and being so selfless in posting all your info here over the years. This is the site at it's very best.
  6. 1 point
    Trip: North Sister - NW Ridge Trip Date: 09/23/2018 Trip Report: Friends. This is my first non-trivial mountain (well, there was Hodge Crest, but that was unnecessarily complicated). I'm rather hyperbole averse, but I still feel good about calling this a harrowing climb. Sorry it's so long, I can't help myself. Not sorry. I disliked descriptions of the standard approach (South Ridge): seems like a complicated set of gendarmes to navigate over crappy terrain. Plus I've already sunk into a crevasse on the Collier glacier and could use something new. Plus beaten path, eww. The NW ridge caught my eye via caltopo: it just generally seemed more appealing. I later shelled out 40$ for a usable misprint of Oregon High, and found some interesting info there, with the FA of Glisan especially entertaining. The internet by contrast is sparse: there's a trip report of a failed attempt on traditionalmountaineering.org, and another on a personal site I can no longer find which was so vague it could've been a different route. Walking out of Scott TH a hearty two hours later then intended, I imagined how I'd word the solitude, firmly believing I wouldn't see a soul for two days. That was contradicted in minutes. The hike in is beautiful, really dry and wet at the same time. Cotton jeans + t shirt felt slightly questionable, but I was wearing them yesterday and picking fresh clothes would've been too much work. Eventually I came upon Collier's geologic diarrhea dump, then through more forest, then through Collier cone's interior (by previous logic, its anus?). I left the PCT and went over the cone's southern ridge down to the Collier glacier's moraine's terminus, where I was relieved to find muddy water (earlier streams I was hopeful about were dry). I set up camp at the edge of the moraine, right under the NW ridge, on a bit of a saddle. I was paranoid about lightning (there was none), but didn't want to be low in case of precipitation, so finding the saddle was a relief. I've been near a lightning storm once, and seeing agitated dark clouds tumbling over the ridges gave me some serious heebie jeebies. I also heard weird sounds, possibly even voices, and remember reading others' accounts of feeling generally weird before lightning, so things sucked. I calmed down and went to bed at 19:30, and slept like a baby (that is, woke up 10 times but got the right amount of quality rest). It rained for a few hours, which was not forecasted, I worried a bit about my water "resistant" single wall tent but it did fine. Enthusiastically up at 6:30, with stars still visible but the beautifully clear sky brightening. I was extremely low energy yesterday, and was elated to be in the mindset for ass whooping today. I heard voices again, and was shocked to see two climbers already going up the ridge. Hey! This is my obscure project! No, honestly it was a relief to not be totally alone. Also relieved not to be hearing things. I ate my homemade granola and packed my stuff. Crampons and axe? Hmmmn, I looked up the mountain, saw a dusting of snow, and imagined that'd be gone in an hour and I'd feel like a chump for carrying them (some backpackers questioned me yesterday). On the other hand, the remaining elevation gain is Dog Mountain, I can use the training weight. The climb up the ridge was very straightforward. I don't know if it was the rime covering the rocks or what, but things were sturdy and scrambling very, very fun. Rule of thumb: from the base till Glisan pinnacle, either go over obstacles (many are easier than they look) or go right. I caught up to the pair, they too were surprised to see me here. One of them had tried this once before, only getting up "Gilson peak". Passing them, I saw some faint footprints here and there. Not as obscure a route as I thought. Traversing under Glisan is where I first encountered proper loose rock, but it was easy enough. I started up a notch leading to a saddle leading to the South route, and happily put crampons on there: they helped immensely. This wasn't snow, this was a granular mix of snow, ice, and mud that gave my ancient spikes extremely good purchase. Over the saddle, traversed some more loose rock, and looked up. Is that the bowling alley? Nah, can't be, too steep. Wussies climb this (I have no idea why I tell myself this). I looked around some more. Yeah, that actually was it. I climbed a small step and headed up. I realized I'm cramponing 45ish° without an ice axe, so I get that out, swing it, and find it useless. So, it's slippery enough that a fall would suck, but forget self arrest. Don't fall then, gotcha. I go up some more, then climb a couple near vertical steps and then back down, terrified. I curse myself and resolve to get outta here. Then I try a slightly different way and, cursing loudly (no bad words, much worse: genuine bad sentiments), it becomes tame again, more and more. I am so happy to have crampons, and so happy the rocks are firmly cemented in place. I walk to the south horn because it has a cairn. From there, north horn looks higher, plus maybe I can scout a different (better?) descent. I climb it, and sit on the peak taking time to declutter my head. I was starving before, but can't eat now, and that's when how distressed I am fully sinks in. Looking around - there's not a better way down this pinnacle (Jeff Thomas made the NE aspect sound doable... nope, though I'd love to try with snow). I decide I'll be ok descending as slowly and deliberately as possible. This works out - I actually found the descent easier. Passed the crux and felt huge relief. Found two different climbers just below the bowling alley; they had no crampons and quickly decided to call it. They'd cowboy camped in that rain, I admire their high spirits. Sitting to eat, the other two from earlier emerged: one soon turned back, the other went up the bowling alley a bit and came back down. No crampons. Poor guys, but I'd be lying if I denied that me being the only of five to summit that morning wasn't a bit of a tremendous ego boost. During this, I remembered how sure I was that the cruxy fun was of type 3, and was amused that I demoted it to type 2. Rime, rock, and my layers are starting to peel off. I traverse back under Glisan, and scurried down the ridge, tripping over loose rock a few times. Yeah, I think the ice made a positive difference on the way up, lucky me! I ran much of the way back to the car and made it back to Portland just an hour late to pick up my daughter. Memorable :). My least favorite thing about this trip is that my micro 4/3 camera broke just before - I used my phone like a normal person. Gear Notes: Crampons, ice axe, and why did I leave a flash drive in my pocket? Approach Notes: Yeah, it's a long drive, but refrain from Schubert sonatas on your way in. That shit gets stuck in your head and then it's not fun.
  7. 1 point
    Trip: Thornton Peak - SE scramble Trip Date: 08/05/2018 Trip Report: Triumph is a well-known peak, and for good reason. With one of the more classic ridge routes around (the NE), it gets a lot of traffic. But immediately next door lies a fantastic scramble (Cl. 3) to the top of Thornton Peak. Due to a variety of factors, our planned ascent of Triumph morphed into a scramble of Thornton which, it turns out, makes a great destination in its own right. Or, as we saw with another team of ladies we met on the summit, Thornton can serve as great backup to Triumph in case of weather/time constraints. And, since it is so close to Triumph and the Pickets, the views aren't half-bad either. Just make sure you bring a tent with the proper poles and fly if it may rain. @cfire enjoyed a bit of a refreshing evening the night before we scrambled Thornton. Like the tough SOB he is though, it didn't seem to dampen his enthusiasm the next day. Ah......... the yin and yang of the North Cascades! Thornton Lakes on the approach. Thornton peak lies just to the left of Triumph: Chris, working his way around middle Thornton Lake (above). Lower and Middle Thornton Lakes (above). The wedder approaches: Kim and Chris - "Do you think it is going to rain Jason?" Triumph: Ptarmigan: Upper Thornton Lake: Triumph: Me, the Lovely Kim, and Chris on the summit of Thornton: Chris heads for home while Kim and I stay to enjoy another night up high: The Lovely Kim descending back to camp: I'll take it: I had bats flying around me eating moths while I took this shot of Triumph and the Big Dipper about midnight: I want the story of whomever was up at midnight at their camp below the Ottohorn-Himmelhorn col? Smoke, smoke, and more smoke. The story of 2018: Looking from camp across the Skagit trench at the North end of Teebone Ridge: The Lovely Kim surveys the way down to the upper Thornton Lake. She said, "Why can't we take trails like normal people do?" A parting look at Triumph: It's sort of a trail, isn't it? "No". Gear Notes: Footwear of some kind. We were able to stay off snow for the most part and the rock isn't too bad where you feel like you need a helmet. Approach Notes: Use the approach to Triumph col and take a left. Descent camps a bit above the pass without much water late season
  8. 1 point
    I fell into a crevasse unroped on the Kahiltna this spring. When I went to AK in 2011 and 2012 I was unwilling to travel unroped except for while skiing downhill, but apparently a handful of years of nothing going wrong on little Cascadian glaciers upped my complacency level. The day I fell in one in April started with a short downhill ski that we did unroped, and at the bottom of the hill the glacier seemed so smooth and covered that I figured it would be fine to not tie in. The deep early season snowpack, sub freezing temps, the fact that we were only going a couple of miles, and general laziness factored in. We had our system dialed and roping up would have taken less than 5 minutes. We skied for an hour or so, and eventually got to a place where it looked like the glacier was starting to get more complicated. There was an obviously bridged crevasse running parallel to us to our left, and we could see more ahead. We were maybe a quarter mile from where I wanted to camp. I was tired of dragging my heavy-ass sled and just wanted to get there. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead! I was actually frustrated that these fucking crevasses were trying to make me late to dinner. My girlfriend, Lyndsey, suggested roping up, and then I took two more steps and was suddenly falling. It must have only taken a second or two before I hit the bottom 30 feet down, but I had plenty of time to think things over as I fell. My first thought was that a hollow pocket in the snow was settling and I would only fall a foot or two, and then I realized that it was a crevasse but that the rope would stop me, and then I remembered that I wasn't roped up and knew that I was going to die because I had been dumb. The slo-mo memory locked in my brain is of my gloved hands out in front of me with snow falling next to them and everything gradually getting dark. Obviously I didn't die (or maybe I did in some dimension? Things got pretty weird in my brain for a few days there), but even though the crevasse pinched off after 30 feet things could have been different. Somehow I landed on my feet. Just last night I got lost in thinking about it (again), and I realized that if I had landed on my side, I might not have been able to get up if I was really lodged in there. A lot of crevasse victims die because they're wedged between the ice, and just get more stuck as the ice around them melts and they slip down slowly and die of hypothermia. Or more of the snow bridging the crack could have fallen and buried me or knocked me out as Lyndsey worked to get me a rope. Or the 80+ pound sled that was somehow wedged above me could have fallen on me and broken my neck. As it was, I landed on my feet, stood there confused for a minute all wedged in and barely able to move, placed the screw that was on my harness for just this occasion, and by the time I started to try to size things up Lyndsey was yelling down to see if I was alive. She had a solid anchor built in no time, and lowered a rope (we both had one). Very long story short, she hauled my sled out with a 3:1 as I struggled to get my pack, skis, poles, and self out with the other end of the rope. I didn't lose or break any gear, and my only injury was a nasty bruise on my arm. As soon as I realized that I was probably going to live (when I clipped my micro-traxion into the rope) I started to feel the shame of having made such a big mistake. At that moment part of me wanted to keep it a secret, but I also recognized that sharing the story might save a life someday. I plan on doing a full write-up on this whole thing when I have time. I will continue to ski on some Cascadian glaciers unroped, but will start taking the bigger ones more seriously. Roping up is not that hard or time consuming if you've got a system down, but people need to practice this stuff and actually carry what you need to save your buddy. Having a screw on my harness was huge, as was having gloves, a hat, and warm jacket within reach. It was eye opening to learn how physically hard it is to ascend a rope with a heavy pack while a little hypothermic and jammed in what is basically an icy squeeze chimney. Now, back to the original question: how do you decide when it's safe to travel on glaciers unroped. Generally I avoid crossing snow bridges or messing around with sketchy moats unroped. When I was younger my ambition and ego had me breaking that rule from time to time. Chances are that bridge won't break under your weight, but that's a pretty high stakes game to play. Spending a lot of time on a lot of Cascadian glaciers in all seasons has given me the experience to make a reasonable assessment of where crevasses might be lurking based on the terrain. Glaciers in the Cascades tend to be safest in the spring, when the seasonal snowpack is deep, and in the late summer (on the smaller glaciers anyway) when you can see and avoid the holes. The bridge I stepped through in Alaska was only about 6 inches thick, and from the surface I couldn't differentiate between it and the wind carved snow around it. But the continental snowpack of the central Alaska Range is different than our snowpack; our bridges tend to be thicker. If you do go alone, think about what you might need to save yourself. Crampons and tools are ideal, but not always realistic. Ice screws to aid out with? Some combination? Whatever floats your boat. I guess the moral of the story is that the older I get the less I think I know.
  9. 1 point
    Trip: Moose's Tooth - Shaken, Not Stirred Trip Date: 04/15/2018 Summary: Ascent of Moose's Tooth to the summit via the route "Shaken, Not Stirred" 19 hours camp to camp with Doug Shepherd April 15th 2018. Details: Alaska. Finally. After multiple trips to Alaska every year since 2009 life priorities had forced me to take a "leave of absence" since my last trip in March of 2016. It was nice to finally return and with Doug Shepherd, someone who I've done numerous trips with including my very first trip to AK in 2009. Various existing commitments limited us to a 3 day trip but weather and temps the week leading up suggested we would likely find something we could climb during the short window. I grabbed Doug at ANC early Saturday morning and we blasted for Talkeetna. After the usual shenanigans (weight in, repack) Paul zipped us in. After looking at possible objectives on the flight in we settled on Shaken, Not Stirred on the Moose's Tooth. Though I had climbed the Moose's Tooth in 2010 it was via Ham and Eggs. I'd always wanted to climb Shaken but had never seen it in. A SLC team was coming out at the same time we were getting dropped off and had attempted it the day prior. They had bailed at the crux due to lack of ice but after quickly looking at their pictures we thought we should at least give it a try as it appeared like it would go with some mixed climbing. We departed camp later than normal on Sunday (~6 am) to allow temps to warm slightly; this allowed us to wear single boots. I took the first simul block to just below the narrows where Doug took over. Doug fired a few amazing pitches that took us to the crux which was ice free but Doug was able to safely protect and find a mixed way through the crux. Following the pitch I have to say it was a very impressive lead. Some more climbing took us to the Englishman’s Col where we enjoyed an extended hydrate + coffee break before heading to the true summit. I will say the terrain between the Englishman’s Col and the true summit is a lot of up and down with at least two rappels and nearly constant crevasse and cornice danger. "Enjoy" We tagged the summit sometime after sunset but before dark; Doug's first time and my second. We managed to start the rappels down Ham and Eggs before it got truly dark so at that point it was just hitting rap anchors and/or making naked threads as needed. We arrived back at camp ~19 hours later and flew out the following day, Monday, before heading back to the lower 48. Good times. Gear Notes: partial set of nuts, single set 00-2 c3, double set 0.4 -> 4 ultralights, 10 laser speed light ice screws, 3 micro trax, single + tag line Approach Notes: Talkeetna Air Taxi is the best
  10. 1 point
    holy shiite muslims, i wish i had that sort of attention span n' head for details
  11. 1 point
    So impressed with the feat of climbing and detailed reporting. So much moderate terrain yet I am sure little felt trivial. You two are a powerhouse. Thanks for sharing.
  12. 1 point
    I came back to CC.com after months away and found this great story.... Congrats on completing your dream. But yikes about the car! Your story stirred memories of my climb of the same route in 1985 with Mark Bebie. We also climbed the couloir to access the upper buttress and we did Beckey's rappel to avoid the final difficulties. According to my journal, we replaced the original Beckey/Fielding piton with one of mine, then did a couple rappels to broken ledges. Three more pitches led to the summit ridge. I still have the Beckey/Fielding piton (or at least, that's what we assumed it was at the time). Here's a picture of it. It has a diamond C stamped on it (but not really visible here).
  13. 1 point
    Great TR on an out-there objective... and what a twist ending! I haven't gotten the tweaker vibe around Chilliwack Lake near as much as at countless other sketchy trailheads where I've parked. It makes me think how lucky I have been not to have my "home" looted or burned in a decade of summers on the road. Glad things turned out okay for you.
  14. 1 point
    Yea, my insurance covered it and they hauled away the heap of metal. Good hands with Allstate. In the end they paid off the vehicle and gave me enough to by roughly the same car with cash so in the end those tweekers got me out of car payments. All is well that ends well. Those tweekers are living a horrid life while I continue to live a charmed life. Perspective and good insurance has helped me through the ordeal.
  15. 1 point
    Trip: Washington Pass, Liberty Bell - Thin Red Line Trip Date: 09/01/2018 Trip Report: My buddy Andy Traylor and I had set this as a goal route to free for the summer season. Neither of us had really approached a bigger route like this with a redpoint mentality before and weren't sure exactly how to do it. With many different ways to consider an ascent "free," we settled on what we believe is a pretty commonly followed set of rules. We wanted to swing leads, and either redpoint or follow cleanly on every pitch, lowering back to the belay if necessary. Our plan was to spend one day and check out the first six pitches to get a feel for the moves and the gear then try and send the next day. On day 1 we took our time climbing the first six pitches, with no real pressure or time crunch. We TR'd the cruxes a couple times and feeling pretty good about going for it the next day, rapped off and headed down for a big dinner. The next day we set out a little nervous, but also feeling good about our chances. Once we were on the route we were moving and climbing well. Thoughts on the pitches for anyone that cares (some gear beta here so purists need not read on): P1. Straightforward crimping and edging straight up to the anchor. I actually headed right after the last bolt, going more directly to the anchor on day 2 and thought that was slightly better. Andy getting all artsy with the iPhone on P1 P2. Short pitch. Boulder problem over the bulge through the mini changing corners. Good pro and the pin at the end of the crux seemed in good shape, not tested. Belay on gear. P3. Awesome and memorable pitch I thought, shorter than it looks in photos. Super thin edging and stemming in the dihedral leading to a roof with wet holds that allow you to exit the corner and gain a stance. I basically punched myself in the face popping out of the wet locks first go round. Pin in the corner seemed good, I tested it and it held. Mostly finger sized cams. Belay at full on hanger. Andy in the corner/roof that ends the crux on P3 P4. Fixed gear in the roof seemed only ok, hard to tell with the tat and I didn’t spend much time examining it, but you probably won’t come off under the roof anyway, clip and go. Andy exiting the roof on P4 The last bit traversing back toward the anchor we both found a little awkward and harder than it seemed it should be. On the traverse back to the belay on P4 P5. Business #1. Super fun 5.10 traversing and edging to the corner. Corner gets progressively harder with the real business starting at the bolts. I will say on my initial go I was not super happy to have left basically all the rack at the belay, expecting only a few pieces then bolts. I'd take mostly finger sizes, but I was happy to have a black Metolius and a #2 C4 (certainly not necessary but provided me with some mental fortitude to try hard). Bring lots of slings, I think I had like 14 and ran out somehow, placed too much gear I guess. The crux moves are technical, a little powerful, desperate and amazing. The last move, while not the hardest, has the potential to be a heart breaker and I can only imagine being very desperate if you’re under, say, 5’9. Belay on medium sized gear above the bolts, significantly better stance. Andy sticking the last move, he never fell once climbing this pitch over the 2 days. P6. Business #2. No picture. First roof is super casual. Leading up to the second roof the climbing gets less secure but good small finger gear is there between pins. The boulder problem is powerful, but pretty straightforward cranking (V4ish?) on pretty good holds. We were a little confused by all the talk about a necessary and specific red C3 placement. We couldn’t find anywhere by the beak, or below the roof for that matter, where this would go. Any clues? However that piece or a blue Metolius or equivalent went in bomber just above the lip. If that’s the placement everyone is talking about, then there is no need to scavenge around for a red C3 if you don’t have one. We left it out in favor of a blue Metolius on round 2. Climb past the bolts (if not rapping from here) and belay on the better sloping ledge with hand sized pieces. P7. Only dog pitch on the route. Thought the rock was poor quality, basically a connector pitch. Ends on the scary looking “how is it still hanging there” block creating the ledge. P8. Another techy and pretty thin 11+ pitch. Really really good. Looks super thin but there is gear to be had and both the head and pin are in good shape, Andy tested both and approved. Some small hand sized gear higher. P9. Excellent and fun 10+ climbing again builds as you get higher. Looks like the seam dies out at the top, but keep going up instead of traversing left. That’s probably super obvious but I was getting tired and moving more timidly by this point. P10-12. Progressively easier climbing. Nice to have Scott's topo for P10 to know where to get started. The last belay sits basically on the arête between the east and north face, we came back into the sun here. There are brand spanking new bolts here instead of the pin/fixed wire combo some guide mentions. Maybe it’s obvious, but the climbing heads left up the lighter colored dihedral. This looked too steep to us to be the 5.7 climbing, so Andy headed out right on the lower angle terrain and we had a bit of an epic on the easiest and last pitch of the route. The rock quality deteriorated into kitty litter, so Andy tried to sling a chockstone to lower back to me, only to get the rope got stuck forcing even more shenanigans (face palm). All in all we wasted some hours and all hopes of pizza. Once corrected we soloed to the top without further incident. Don't go this way. Why is this photo so big? All in all, neither of us fell following any of the pitches. On lead, some of the pitches took a try or two, but in the end we pulled it out and nabbed a free ascent. We learned a lot about climbing in this style and really enjoyed the process. Thanks to Mikey Schaefer for figuring this out, it provided one of my all time favorite experiences in the mountains so far. Psyched for the next one! Gear Notes: Doubles from purple Metolius to .75 BD, singles to #3 BD. Our second set of cams were Metolius offsets. They worked amazing (as always for granite) and I always carry them as doubles, but far from necessary. Nuts. Placed 1 RP but probably not necessary. Lots of slings, like ~16. We used a 40M tag line and hauled the bag on most pitches. Approach Notes: Most casual "alpine" approach ever. Like 25min from the car.
  16. 1 point
  17. 1 point
    East Twin Needle, Himmelgeisterhorn and Ottohorn are some of the most enjoyable climbing I've done any where! Doing the traverse from Terror to Ottohorn would be such a good line.
  18. 1 point
    Nature is much of a canvas as it is a mirror. Well done. I'm so happy to see the psych torches lit, pass that shit along! I really miss those mountains and it's great to see a trip report just like the golden days on this website. Proud
  19. 1 point
    Honestly, I was surprised at the quality of the 5th class terrain. There is so much incredible 5th class terrain, and the rock quality was surprisingly good. We never had any random hand-holds or foot-holds break loose, unexpectedly (but perhaps we were just lucky on both trips). We tread slowly and carefully, and any loose stuff was obvious (standard Cascades climbing). There aren't too many places on the planet where one can get endless 5th class like this with such incredible purchase. It definitely deserves more traffic!
  20. 1 point
    Thanks for the amazing report! You said doing a blog would be too much work!? Ha! Million dollar trip report. I had hoped that this climb would get into the minds of people here, it was so deserving, worthy, and has all of the elements of true, and lasting adventure. This is one of only a couple of personal new route/traverses that I felt worthy of proclaiming (too?) loudly. Way to see it fit into your dreams, and play a part in your parties amazing trajectory and story!
  21. 1 point
    Thanks everybody for the appreciation of the beta! We made half of these topos after our first attempt, and brought the topos with us on the final attempt to make markups and corrections. We recorded voice memos at the end of each day to capture the specific beta and routefinding. Our hope is that more of this terrain gets traffic since most of it was high-quality technical choss with astounding position. Any of the linkups of smaller segments of the Enchainment would be an excellent weekend outing. Of course, it was a fun adventure to pick our own way much of the time! Leave the beta sheets at home if you want extra adventure. The approach into the Pickets is way too long just to go climb a single peak (been there, done that!). Probably my favorite segment would be Terror-Rake col to Otto-Himmel col. East Face of Inspiration was the single best pitch of the Enchainment imo. The approach to Frenzelspitz was really scary (especially in the dark), and I wouldn't recommend it unless you're going for the full Enchainment. Also, we still want to go back to also climb the Wild Hair Crack on Himmelhorn which looks incredible!
  22. 1 point
    Holy Himmelgeisterhorn! We must now engrave thy names in the Choss Chalice alongside the alpinists of yore!
  23. 1 point
    You make this sound like a normal god damned weekend trip. ...oh, I went to Alaska.... ...didn't know what to climb... ...as we were walking by Moose Tooth we decided to give this route a shot.... ...we were home the next day...
  24. 1 point
    Recently climbed the Nose on El Capitan in a day. It was so much fun that I wanted to share some of the details so someone else can go get it! Below I have copied and pasted the post, but don't want to deal with the photo uploads. For better formatting and photos, see: http://chasingmastery.com/climbing-the-nose-in-a-day/ When Jimmy and I shipped down to Yosemite, I had two goals for my few weeks there. The Nose with Ben and Lindsey, and the Nose in a day. Due to stellar planning and good luck, Ben and Lindsey we knocked down our 3 day ascent on this mega-classic without too much hassle. Objective 1 accomplished. It was during our climb, however, that I became even more enchanted with climbing 27 pitches in a single day. We were passed by several NIAD (“Nose in a Day”) parties and it looked like SO MUCH fun. At one moment, it would be the three of us, hauling our big ugly pig up this super-classic wall, then the next second, they would go shooting by. Shouts of “OFF BELAY”, “LINE’S FIXED!” (….then a minute later….) “YOU’RE ON BELAY!” “OKAY, CLIMBING!”, would indicate they were approaching. Next, there would be an amicable moment where they would very nicely request to pass, we would oblige of course, praising these folks as gods, they might pull on a few of our pieces, and then they were gone. Just like that, silence again. Just us and our pig. Before even arriving in Yosemite I had been thinking about the NIAD for several months and the moments above just tipped the scale a little bit further. At this point I knew I had to do it. The pace at which even the slowest day-parties passed us was impressive and mesmerizing. Little did I know before my own undertaking of the route with my party Jimmy, the adventure becomes nearly aerobic – no move too hard (thats not that point), just moving and moving and moving. Its almost like one of those 10,000+ days of vertical in the backcountry. I knew that Jimmy and I were physically fit enough to take on the NIAD, the next step was to do a little bit more research “how”. Research Now that the Nose in a Day is becoming quite a popular objective for able climbers, a wealth of information is available online for willing suitors. Some blogs to start with are John Middendorf’s (admittedly not the style in which most people are doing it today but interesting all the same), and Cory McLean’s (who did it with is brother in about 21 hours by short-fixing the whole route). Maybe most useful is this very beta intensive post on the UK Bouldering site. In addition to reviewing some of the material on-line, I made the following observations of the teams climbing past us during wall-style ascent: **Parties with 10-15 hr times were short-fixing the entire route, with the exception of Sickle, which I will get to later. Simul-climbing is not typically efficient enough. **The style in which the leader moves up generally depends on his climbing level. Nearly every pitch can be aided very easily at C1, but this is obviously slow. There do seem to be a few pitches where most folks do go into full aid mode. These are the horizontal bit of the Great Roof and the Glowering Spot. Believe it or not, if you’re climbing Yosemite 5.11, just about everything else can be “french-freed” with a reasonable amount of energy. **In addition to deciding how much aid to employ, the leader typically chooses one of two methods for short-fixing. The first is to use of a Gri-Gri to manage slack in the system, and the second, the old school, or maybe new school, “Pakastani Death Loop” (PDL). This latter method is less complicated than it sounds – just one big loop between you and the anchor. Don’t fall. **One party we witnessed used a short (40ft) tagline to catch up gear when the follower arrived at a belay. Now originally, when Jimmy had proposed the idea of doing the Nose in a Day, I was skeptical, partly because I had a certain attachment to doing it in a reasonable time, not as an absolute suffer fast. He had said to me several times, “Chris, its the Nose in a Day, not 14 hours, not 18hrs, but a day.” I never liked that idea. I had trouble coming to grips with the idea of beating the hell out of ourselves for 24 hours straight. But, after a strong season of rock climbing, and watching these other teams, my stance changed a bit. I relayed the above observations to Jimmy. With some intelligence, we would be able to put together a strategy that would make the day fast and fun. Though we never explicitly decided on goal, I think that we were expecting to finish around the 16 hour mark. ============== Strategy: There was a lot to be figured out for our first day trip up the Nose. Unless you are doing it with someone who has done it before, you probably have a ton of questions and possibilities buzzing around your head. In the end, here are some of the strategy elements we discussed before our own attempt. Managing parties on the wall – Save the rainy days, on nearly any other day during the typical season in the Valley there are bound to be several parties on the Nose. The challenge, when deciding to go “daying”, is determining how many. Stop by the meadows each afternoon and take a quick count. While there are bound to be a few parties, note those that might be fixing to Sickle or Dolt with their bags, before returning to the ground that evening, and those that are above the Great Roof. Its conceivable these later folks may end up finishing the next day if they are fast. If there are more than six or seven parties, you should probably make an alternate strategy. Let’s be honest: unless you are Alex Honnold or Hans Florine, folks won’t necessarily LOVE being passed. One way to work around the crowds is to start in the afternoon and climb through the night. Another is to start very early in the morning, say 2am, and pass as many folks as you can while they are pretending to sleep. Make a strategy for the Stove Legs – EVERYONE seems to recommend doing a Dolt run. The benefit is that you figure out how to deal with the complexities of traversing pitches with back-to-back lower outs in the Stove Legs. As an added bous, there are a number of ways to optimize for time on the pitches below Stove Legs through better gear management and back-cleaning. Someone with a lot of walling experience would be able to recognize these opportunities on-sight, but we aren’t all climbing gods and most of us can definitely benefit from a practice run. The most common strategy for tackling the Stoves Legs seems to be as follows. First, simul-climb up the fourth class terrain above Sickle. When the leader reaches the set of anchors above the strenuous 5.9 flare that leads out onto the face, he or she clips the rope here, and is then lowered out as the follower continues climbing up to the aforementioned anchors. When the leader has descended far enough, he or she should swing rightwards across into the low 5th corner. From here, a confident leader can either run it out or back clean all the way up to the lone bolt on the face under the small roof out right (this comes after climbing through nice 5.8 cracks), and seems to be commonly annotated as “Option B”. At this point, he or she should fix the rope briefly, allowing the follower to jug the remaining distance to the first anchors mentioned above, lower out to low-5th corner (now below the leader agin), and then jug another 15 feet to a set of anchors on the face to the right of the corner. Here, he or she can put the leader briefly back on the belay Finally, the leader can un-fix the rope, be lowered a few feet, and penji to the final Stove Legs Crack out right. This crack is followed for 25 ft, before another anchor is reached. From here, let standard short-fixing antics begin once again! Planning the route – There are a myriad of ways to block out the route between you and your partner. First, if you led the Dolt Run above, then obviously its best you lead it again day of. There are two other complexities on the route that require some mandatory Yosemite 5.10 “facey” granite climbing, the Jardin Traverse and the Lynn Hill Traverse. Many people have climbed the Nose many times and never gone up Jardin. This variation avoids the King Swing, which some folks won’t want to miss, but it should be considered as a fast alternative if you are a 5.10+ climber. The Lynn Hill Traverse is tricky as well, but allows you to skip a pitch and to avoid a lower out. While the taking a left turn onto Jardin Traverse seems to be a decision dictated by the number of parties on the King Swing, the Lynn Hill variation is more of a matter of whether you are up for the 5.10+ face moves. Whichever way you decide to go at these junctions, keep in mind that either you or your partner might be more efficient at (or the only one capable of) handling these challenges. Being honest and upfront about this might save you a whole lot of time. In addition to segmenting the route to fit the strengths between you and your partner, its worth considering breaking the route into blocks by time. In Han Florine’s audiotape on the Nose, he discusses why this, not number of pitches, is an ideal way to split it up. Basically, some pitches just take a lot longer than others to lead. After watching the clock on some other “warm-up” routes, I’ve found that 3-3.5 hour blocks are ideal for me. I find its better that I leave a little in the tank so I’m hungry for more (and have some brainpower left for following) than to dig myself into depletion each block. At ~3.5 hour intervals, if you are fast enough, leader 1 can fire to Dolt from the ground, leader 2 would bang it to the base of the Great Roof, and so on. Efficiency is key – The idea of pulling on cams all day long might not sound enjoyable to some, but the efficiency gains over figuring out moves on any given pitch are innumerable. There are a number of other things the leader can also do to ensure they are burning as little energy as possible. Lighten up your harness. For example, you won’t need the #4 or aiders for most of the pitches. Resting, waiting, cleaning of gear on your harness? Clip into a piece. When climbing a consistent crack, you can connect your daisy to your highest cam then alternate between pushing it up and sitting on it and moving your feet. Only carry enough food and water for your block. Avoid placing nuts – they slow the whole train down. Place little gear and back-clean where possible; this helps you and the follower. Similarly, when following, consider that lower-outs take time. More often than not, its faster, easier, and just as safe to just briefly unweight the rope, free the rope, and take a little swing (all the cool kids are doing it). These lower-outs are some of the only times I take to really back myself up closely with a Gri-Gri. When we all learned to aid, someone told us that you should always back up your Jumars. This is true, but understanding how to prevent them from popping in the first place makes this pretty unnecessary most of the time (I’ve NEVER had a Jumar come off the rope). Now although following can be a time to rest, be aware that the leader may be waiting for you mid-way up the next pitch. Get up there quickly, pass up gear he or she needs, then take your moment to rest when you are belaying. Food and water -Deciding how much water to bring can be challenging. For instance is 5L is enough for a 15 hours ascent? Too much? Another benefit to leading in blocks is that it makes this thinking easier. Say you plan to complete the route in 5 blocks – each about 3 hours in duration. Well then 5L would be .5L per person every three hours. I find it easier to think about how much water I’ll want every few hours, than for 15. Food choices can be daunting as well, though typically less so, because some of the calorically and nutritionally dense space food available today. For a climb like this where you’ll be working at a relatively hard pass, failing to replenish electrolytes as you go may mean you bonk half way up the route. Planning on 150-200 calories an hour, with an emphasis on foods high in easily digested carbohydrates. Supplementing with gels, which often contain BCAAs, caffeine, and other high-performance ingredients, is a great way to go, especially given their size and weight. Figure out how much food and water you want, make a system with your partner to ensure you hit your goals for eating and hydrating as you go. Its easy to forget to eat when the climbing is never ending. On longer moderate climbs where you are moving all the time and its important for the leader and the follower to both stay hydrated, the two, can carry a .5L water bottle. In the case of the Nose, led in blocks, this would mean that each time you switch out, the leader can fill his/her pockets with food for the next few hours (bars and gels), fill a bottle on his harness, and off he/she goes. The leader can then ingest a little from when they are waiting for the follower (out of rope or gear usually). Pre-stashing – As I mentioned above, one option to lighten your load is to pre-stash water and food midway up the route, perhaps at Dolt. If you really want to go light, you could throw a pair of shoes and water at the top too. If considering this, first, don’t litter and make sure animals won’t touch it. Second, consider that unless you label it VERY VERY clearly, a thirsty soul may reach it before you do. Tant pis. Have a back up plan. ======================================== Play by play from the day (and night): Of course all of the above beta is a direct result of the many discussions Jimmy and I had while planning for the NIAD, and our experience on the route. Our original plan was to do a run up Moratorium to East Buttress and a Dolt Run before hand. Between these, we would stash water on top of Dolt, then more water and our shoes at the top of the East Ledges descent. Unfortunately, or fortunately, our plan to climb the NIAD was accelerated by the well-needed rain that has bit hitting California. This foiled our plans for pre-stashing and forced us to commit to the route without doing a Dolt Run. The day before we stopped by the El Capitan Meadows to check on the crowd situation – 6 or so parties as we could tell. Most of these parties we lower on the route, and we figured the folks above the Great Roof would be finishing that day. Given the number of the people on the route, we decided to wake up at midnight (yes, midnight) and go from there. We returned to Camp 4, made a quick meal and hit the sack. Jimmy’s phone buzzed silently at 12am. He may have gotten a little more sleep than I did. I wasn’t feeling tired when we originally laid down, and continued to replay sections of the route in my head. We got up and brewed a coffee at midnight – that felt weird! After trying to use the bathroom one last time before heading up for what we planned to be a 15 to 16 hour day, we hopped in the car. Between the car and and the short hike to the base of the route, we were both pretty quiet, which I find typically on the approach to build climbs. Upon arriving at the base of Pine Line, the 5.7 pitch that marks the start of the route, there were to two tents camped underneath. At 2am, after weighing down our harness and a few jokes, I headed up on the first block. I felt like I was immediately in zone. Flowing through move after move, I hit the top of each pitch, fixed the rope and kept going. Jimmy followed quickly, jugging up in the dark. Sometimes I would turn off my headlamp while waiting to enjoy the evening air and quiet on a route that is typically busy like a city block. Eventually Jimmy’s headlamp would come bobbing into view below. He’d arrive at the anchor, put me back on belay, and pass up the gear sling if I wanted it. On these lower pitches, I used a death loop at each belay, which either meant stacking the rope on a ledge before heading up, or letting it hang between myself and the anchor down the blank face. Without the Gri-Gri to deal with it become enjoyably aerobic to just climb. The simplicity and fluidity to it was amazing. We managed the Stove Legs quite well, and within 31/2 hours had reached the OW pitch below Dolt Tower where Jimmy took over. From here we began to pass parties, one just getting ready to go on top of Dolt, one after the Jardin Traverse at Eagle Ledge, and so on. Jimmy essentially soloed the first pitch of Dolt tour as the horizon began to glow. This pitch requires a short rappel before climbing back level with, and then above the height of Dolt, meaning that I had a large lower out to perform. Jimmy set up for short-fixing as he got his first anchor, and once fix I began lowering out. Due to my own ignorance, I didn’t ask him to leave me enough rope, so, after lowering out 10 feet or so, I had to unclip the loop from my harness, and take a big swing into morning light. After coming to a rest with my feet against the wall, I threw on the jugs and caught up to give Jimmy a below. And so our adventure continued, up and up and up. I took over shortly for the climbing between the Jardin Traverse and the Lynn Hill Traverse. We had decided to take a left turn due to the two parties waiting on the King Swing. One of them were a set of girls, who kindly shared their psyched about being peed on by the party above them. Twice. Seems to be quite the experience on El Cap. At the Great Roof we ran into some old French men, where things got really fun. Between my interest to try to communicate with them in broken French, and our agreement to climb the Great Roof at the same time, we were all having fun. I had my good fun trying o carefully pronounce “dessouss” instead of “dessuss”, in my articulation of our plant to pass them, and before I knew it Jimmy was charging up the Pancake flake as I once again took a big swing lowering out the Great Roof. Things really got fun as we approach Camp 5 and realized there were two parties jostling each other to be the first to the top. In exchange for allowing us to pass, we tagged up a rope for the first party on the pitch above the Glowering Spot. At the ledge above the Glowering Spot, I fixed our rope for Jimmy in the huge mess of an anchor the party had created, stacked my 70ft on the ledge, and climbed over them (after a lot of friendly banter!). From here I knew the climbing well: strenuous hand cracks that vary between two inches two four, some gentle face climbing just below Camp 6, Changing Corners, and the three back to back pitches where all you need are reds and greens and a little 5.8 free climbing magic. At Changing Corners, I short-fixed again, and to my joy and surprise, a Japanese climber hanging out on his portaledge threw me on belay Talk about friends! “I am on belay!”, “I love it, I am on belay”. There is nothing like going from being 40ft run-out on 5.10 terrain to having someone throw you on a Gri-Gri. Unfortunately I very shortly ran out of rope and had to wait for Jimmy, who was still on his way up to Camp 6. Once moving again, I free-climbed the rest of the 5.10 glory hands on Changing Corners before yarding through the bolts, where I caught up Jimmy on an well-equalized anchor. From here we continued on and on. I led a few more pitches before handing it off to Jimmy for the final crack pitch and bolt ladder. At this point, my biceps were cramping hard. Each time I pulled on a sling I had to then straighten out my arm and let the cramps pass. He led up the bolt ladder like a champ, leaving only that occasional draw for my to clean. After some brief civilized communication about going in-direct to give Jimmy more rope, he made it to the top and I followed suit. We both tagged the tree and set to revel in our victory. ============================================= Final kit: **Water: Two .5L Nalgenes, one each for leader and follower + 4L water bladder (5L total) **Food: ****3 Probars and 3 smaller bars and a few caffeinated gels for my three blocks (about 250 calories every three hours) ****Another 1500 calories of nuts, chocolate, and dried fruit, which I ate while waiting at belays **Rope: ****60M 10mm Sterling Marathon (really durable, feels thinner) ****40 ft 7mm tagline to pass up gear – this ended up being a great length AND size/weight. **Layers: ****OR Ferosi pants, jacket (sun-shade and wind protection) and OR Astronman shirt. The shirt is really light, and has a collar to avoids slings rubbing on your neck all day. I did end up wearing the jacket a few times but would have survived without it. ****Between us we also brought a LW synthetic jacket in case someone bonked or something. **Rack: ****BD offsets .1/.2, .2/.3, .3/.4, .4/.5 ****11 (3 single length slings + 8 draws) a few extra biners – Draws are easier most of the time because you aren’t putting that much gear in, and not climbing that far, the rope drag just isn’t that bad. ****3 lockers in addition to what we personally carried – when short-fixing, I was typically using a non-locker on one bolt, and a locker on the other ****Set of RPs and #7, #8 and #9 DMM Offsets – Maybe placed each of these once. ****Single set of Metolius Blue – Orange (.2-.4) – You don’t need a lot of small stuff ****2x BD C4s .5, 3x .75, 1, 2x#2 1#3, 1#4 ****1 cam hook for the Glowering Spot ****1 BD gear sling for the follower, with a tiny locker that stays with the sling to connect it to the tagline **Other gear: ****Two Jumars for follower ****3 ladders, as the leader often didn’t need any, but two are helpful for the Glowering Spot and the Great Roof. We had big wide ladders but the follower would be better off with LW alpine aiders ****1 Wag Bag (leave the route clean!) ****2 headlamps ****Helmets! ****Small harness knife ======================================================================== Notes on training As I mentioned, the Nose in a Day had been in Jimmy and my sights for quite a while. We had had some time to consider how we would train. In general, for the last few months, I’ve probably annoyed him with my comments to “stop thinking so much” while climbing and, “you probably don’t need that piece huh?” Luckily our partnership, despite my pushiness at times, has persisted through all that through all that! From a fitness perspective, Jimmy and I are both coming off a fairly substantial aerobic base. He is a mountain guide in Denali in the summer and guides ice in NE during the winter. My base training looked a bit different because I had a full time job (before I quit it). I was biking to work 6-7 hours a week, hiking every week after work, and doing big ski touring days on the weekend. After quitting, I did a bunch of moderate and long days in Washington and Chamonix. Once he and I got together, we started to focus on including a big day of climbing every week (15-20 pitches). In Squamish, some good routes for this include link ups with the Grand Wall, and also then doing some combination of Borderline, Angel’s Crest, and High Plain’s Drifter. On these days and others, we focused on constant movement, transitions, and efficiency. On top of all that, through fairly constant climbing, I’ve pulled my on-sight grade up to mid-5.11, and did some of my first 5.12s. I really think that the aerobic base, paired with a ton of long climbing days, and additionally a bunch of strength and technique building through hard cragging, made the actual climbing on the Nose feel fairly mild. In addition to sharing our training background and climbing ability before arriving in the Valley, its worth talking about what we did when we got there there. Jimmy and I climbed the following valley classics as practice days: Rostrum – Stacked, strenuous granite climbing to warm-up after arriving to the Valley. A lot harder than the climbing on the Nose, but great to build strength and confidence. That, and its really good climbing. (6 hours or so) South Face of Washington Column in Day – This climb is very representative of the rating distribution on the Nose, just a lot shorter. Because it is so crowded, its good chance to learn how to climb over people too! (10.5 hours) Moratorium to East Buttress (16p or so) – I led the entire Moratorium, when mildly wet at the crux, in about 3.5 hours, then Jimmy then led East Buttress in 5 hours or so, on which we simul-climbed for 4 or 5 pitches. Now, our times on these routes were incredibly fast, which goes to show that it there is a huge potential here to improve your speed and do well day off. Here are four important things you can do while training: Times each route on phone or watch. Watch how long it takes to go come off-belay, lead a pitch, and put your follower on. Also time the follower, when either climbing or jugging. This kind of feedback is invariable in that it forces you to be brutally honest about how fast you are climbing. Understand where you are spending time and what can be improved. Once you have these times written down, its vital you discuss how to move faster AS A TEAM. For example, you might get frustrated as you wait an hour for your party to clean a roof. A discussion between the two off you might both provide your partner with new advice on how to aid the roof, but also help to identify where placing protection differently would have made it substantially easy to follow. In one case on Washington Column, I had totally blocked Jimmy from any upward progress because I double clipped a piece to another fixed lower-out sling. This required about thirty minutes for him to work through. Try leading long blocks. Maybe 3 hours is right for you, maybe its longer. Watch your times on each pitch as you hit 3 hours. Does it start to take you a lot longer to get up? Are you slowing down without realizing it? Focus on speed short-fixing with a Gri-Gri AND with a death-loop. Both of these seem fairly necessary to me to hit sub-15 hours times. See what you are comfortable with, and make sure you can set up the anchor quickly when you get there and keep moving. It should take a two minutes or less. ============================================= Final reflections: All the beta aside, the Nose was one of the coolest climbing experiences I have had in my career. As someone who loves long enduro-fests, this one was the ultimate – it takes you up the one of the most classic rock climbs in the world. The rock on the Nose is stellar, and generally passing parties is pretty simple. I would highly recommend the route to folks that are up to the challenge which, upon reflection, is somewhat agnostic to wwether you climb high 5.10 or 12+. The more important skills required are 1) to be able to move all day long and 2) a high level of comfort with being short-fixing, jugging, and maybe being runout on easy ground. It was a big climb for Jimmy and I both us, and we both took advantage of some well-earned calories and rest days afterwords. On the way out of the valley, he and I talked about how being able to do the Nose in a day turns the wall into a crag. Pretty cool idea!
  25. 1 point
    Trip: Mt Pugh - West Face Date: 1/4/2014 Trip Report: I climbed Mt Pugh back in Nov. 2011 http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1041540[/url] I remember easy access, stunning summit views, and no one around. Ideal ingredients for a day trip in my mind. So when a few friends and I wanted to get out during the deep freeze of early December, I recommended Pugh. We had a great day out but we did not give ourselves enough time to summit and descend the technical portion before nightfall. We did, however get a good glimpse at Pugh's West face. We vowed that we would return later in the Winter to give this face a go. Scouring the interwebs and Becky's bible I found no information on any ascents of this face. The thought of the unknown amped my desire even more. Finding a weather window at the tail end of my Winter break, 2 out of the 3 friends from the last trip were excited to return to Pugh and give the West face a try. We found a fourth member for our team and at 5am the 4 of us piled into my Subaru and left Seattle. 1 month ago, the gate for the 1 mile road to Pugh's trailhead was open, this time it was closed with 4 large boulders in front of it. WTF?! A simple lock would have deterred us. Anyone know if they are closing this FS road for good? Oh well, an extra mile of road walking never hurt anyone. We followed the road, and trail to treeline and found way more snow than expected. Avalanche forecast reminded us to beware of wind-loaded slopes. note the snow blowing over the ridge line. We tested the stability, of the lower slope and found about 1-2 feet of powder on top of a fairly consolidated base under with little-to-no sliding. We discussed the pros and cons and made an educated decision to ascend. We broke into teams of 2, each with a 25M rope and an assortment of protection. half way up we broke out the rope for some thin 60+ degree snow over rock. No photos, sorry. The face was fun, engaging, and at times, exposed. We reached the ridge line in a few hours and found ourselves inline with the standard route, but running low on time. Not wanting to get turned around in virtually the same spot again, we decided to risk getting caught up high in the dark and pushed for the summit. In the Summer the standard route is mostly a walk with exposure, but in Winter conditions, things got a bit spicier. The crux's seemed to be steep, and exposed with no pro and shitty snow and/or ice. As we got higher, the angle mellowed and it was just snow wallowing to the summit. We reached the summit around 4pm. The views were crystal clear. We were even able to make out Seattle along the Puget Sound! We celebrated, ate, took photos in 5 minutes, and turned tail. That left us with approximately 45 minutes to get back down to Stujack pass where the route finding and exposure was over. This was going to be a close one! The sun began to sink into one of the better sunsets I have experienced in recent years. All I wanted to do was stop and enjoy this golden hour... but a few quick snaps from the camera was all I had time for. We reached a little above Stujack pass before we had to switch to headlamps. I thought back to the descent we took a month ago and remembered just one last technical 50+ degree slope we had to down climb and traverse. It would have to be in the dark. From the pass we traversed and glissaded in the dark until we found our tracks from earlier. We reached tree line and made the long march back to our cars, anxiously hoping we would make it back to Darrington before the Burger Barn closed. We got there at 9pm thinking that is when they closed. To our dismay, they had been closed since 7pm. All that rushing for nothing. The West face of Pugh has a few options from mellow to downright spicy. There was little-to-no ice present, but there are at least 3 routes up there for some great snow climbing. I have no idea if this is a first ascent or not. Anyone know? Either way, I highly recommend the area for some fun climbing in the snow with views that are hard to match. Gear Notes: We had two tools or a tool/axe combo. Both worked just fine. Crampons for the icy bits up high helmet for the icy chunks that rained down for much of the route. Pickets, 25M rope, and long slings for trees if you plan on pitching any of it out. Approach Notes: From Darrington, follow the Mountain Loop HWY for roughly 12 miles. There is a sign marking the FS road on the left for Mt Pugh. Follow the road for a mile to the trailhead, then take the well maintained trail to tree line for about 3 miles.